The British foreign secretary has been under pressure in light of the Taliban’s* takeover of Kabul and the dubious response of officials. On 26 August, a huge bomb went off near Abbey Gate, the main entrance to Kabul Airport, killing 13 US service personnel and 163 Afghans.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs on Wednesday a secret security assessment had forecast there would be a “steady deterioration” of the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of NATO troops but Kabul was “unlikely to fall this year”.
He said the Joint Intelligence Committee had made the assessment and there had been contingency planning in case Kabul fell much sooner than December and the number of British Embassy staff had been reduced from 150 to 75 in May.
Raab, who has been urged to resign because of his and the Foreign Office’s response to the crisis in Afghanistan, said they began planning for the possible evacuation of British nationals and Afghan interpreters and support staff as early as June.
The foreign secretary, who was on holiday in Greece when the Taliban suddenly advanced and took Kabul, has been criticised for not calling the Afghan or Pakistani foreign ministers in the six months before the fall of the Afghan capital.
On Wednesday, 1 September, Raab told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee he had 40 meetings where “Afghanistan was on the agenda” in the run up to the fall of the capital.
The foreign secretary said he was “not confident” the estimate of…